We were sipping wine at the end of a long day. After a discussion about potty training our two-year-old, my wife and I began calculating how many diapers we had changed. We estimated that four kids over ten years came out to 26,000.
There was some discrepancy over who changed the majority of those diapers. I initially said 60/40 me. She said 70/30 her. I eventually conceded.
Martin Luther once called diaper-changing a holy work. Why? Because it is an act of care that needs to be done. His point was that holy work takes on simple and mundane forms. He contrasted these simple works with the seemingly heroic deeds of fasting and prayer done by monks. Luther argued that the everyday tasks of the common person were more holy than the monastery because they actually served a neighbor's need.
In our news feeds and highlight reels, we look for the spectacular. Someone who gave their kidney away. Or took a bullet for someone else. Or started a new company from scratch. By comparison, we feel inadequate and unaccomplished.
But what if the most spectacular feats were unsung and unnoticed? A diaper changed. A hug given. A meal made. A hopeful word. An hour of listening. A ride to work.
St. Paul wrote that the height of Christian freedom was love shown through acts of service. "You were called to freedom, brothers, . . . through love serve one another" (Gal. 5:13). What else could love look like? Where else would we see it so clearly?
So proudly embrace the simple and sometimes dirty tasks that God places before you. Don't be ashamed of the mundane things you do day after day. The love we show, the patience we take, the attention we give - this is Christ living in and through us.
Unless our 2-year-old is potty trained tomorrow, our number is approaching 27,000.